When the recital started, they asked all the parents not to use flash photography because it would ruin the video they were making of the performances. I looked down at my camera with a huge external flash sitting on top and realized I needed to change my plans. :) There were other people still using their flashes during the performance, so I could have gotten away with it, but instead I decided to play by the rules. :)
In order to still get some pictures of my daughter on stage I changed my camera settings to help me take some photos in low light. (It didn't help that we were clear in the back of the auditorium.)
First - I changed my ISO to 1600. I could've used 800, but some of the routines were lit more than the others and I wasn't sure how lit her routine would be so I used 1600. ISO is equivalent to film speed. The higher the ISO, the faster the photo processes, the more grain you will get in your photos. 1600 will have quite a bit of grain.
Second - I switched to Manual Mode on my camera so i could set my f-stop and shutter at settings I knew would work.
Third - In manual mode, I put my f-stop on the lowest setting. (Since I was zoomed all the way out to 300mm, the lowest setting is 5.6.) In general, the lower you set your f-stop number, the bigger the aperture opening in your lens, the more light that gets in.
Fourth - In manual mode, I put my shutter on 60. For me, 60 is my cut-off shutter speed for blur. Even at 60 I will get blur sometimes so 80 is even better. However, since I was zoomed to 300mm I needed all the light I could get. Unless your subject is holding still, don't shoot below 60 if you can help it! :)
I was able to get some great pictures of my daughter dancing on stage, without a flash. There was quite a bit of grain since I was shooting on 1600 ISO so I used photoshop to clean them up a bit, but overall, I am very pleased with my photos based on my low light, no flash, situation. :)
My daughter is second from the left. Isn't she so cute?! :) She did such an amazing job! I am so proud of her!